Cat-like customers

Whatever, call me a nice guy, but whenever I make a purchase somewhere — whether it’s a McChicken at McDonalds or a Dog at Dog Land — I make sure to be friendly, flash a smile, maybe engage in a short conversation, and thank the worker for their service. After all, that McDonalds worker likely could think of a few better things to do than ring you up for fries, so why not brighten their day a bit? Well, as optimistic as it may sound, I thought that these kind altercations were the custom: then, I got my job at Toys “R” Us. Needless to say, reality hit hard.

When I was hired at the greatest toy store there is (gee whiz), they never specifically instructed me to be friendly to the customers when I rang them up or asked them if they needed assistance; to me, it was just implied that I would do so. Never did anyone ask me to do it, it’s just the human decency one needs to work with people. In fact, my first shift, when I was just a wee little toy-selling padawan, being friendly was all I had to keep my job afloat.

At first, things were good. Despite the fact that I had not a clue what I was doing, the people were friendly and understanding that it was my first day. They’d smile and say hello, be patient if I goofed, and kindly say “Have a nice day!” as they headed for the parking lot with their toys in hand. For the most part, this continued through my first few shifts, including the widely feared Black Friday — rarely did the bitter buyer come my way. Suddenly and without warning, things changed.

I don’t know if I’ve been working under a full moon or what, but boy, the angry customer wolves have been on the prowl as of late. Few and far between do the smiling faces and friendly wishes of a good day come through the line; in their places have been annoyed gazes up from a cell phone and a mocking roll of the eyes. Have you ever pet a cat for five minutes on end, caringly trying to make the feline happy, only for it to bite you and run away? Kind of makes you regret petting the unappreciative little pest in the first place, doesn’t it? That’s what dealing with these ungrateful, toy buying cats feels like.

Now don’t get me wrong: since getting this job, days have been more packed, free time is not nearly as plentiful, and in turn my energy is depleting just a bit. It is understandable that these people may very well have incredibly busy lives and skyrocketing stress levels to boot, and it may not be very easy to smile. It probably becomes a bit more difficult to brighten up for a short conversation with, say, a dashingly handsome worker at the toy store, but you know what? Those people could be at home, they could could be out with their family and friends, but instead they are punching the buttons and taking the cash to make it possible for you to buy that iPhone for your two-year-old.

You may be saying “Oh, Evan, you’re too darn picky!” but frankly, I don’t want to hear it. Look, I’m not asking for them to hop behind the counter and rub my back, I’m just asking for them to smile and return my “hello.” And I don’t expect them to run home and bake me a cake with a personalized message and a Hot Wheels car on top, but a “Thank you, have a good day too,” would be nice.

Wow, I might be getting carried away. I’ll stop while I’m ahead, because my job is awesome and I would hate to paint it negatively. If you share my same views, disagree with them, or I checked your catty self out at the toy store this week, email me at [email protected] or tweet me up at @Pagano13. See you next week, buddy.